For one assignment in my class, we were required to read a very interesting article called “The Brand Called You” that was published by Fast Company back in 1997. I find that the things Tom Peters writes about in there are no less pertinent today than they were then, and in fact they are more so. There is also a great follow-up article on Fast Company here called “Brand You Survival Kit.” Thinking about “Brand Me” was an interesting challenge, as it is difficult sometimes to look at yourself from an outside perspective and really analyze and consider who you are and where you’re going. Therefore, writing in the third-person was an integral part of this assignment. Below, you can read a little about “Brand Me.”
Aaron Snowberger is an American graphic design artist and website developer in South Korea. His purpose is to bring the best of Western design to Korea and combine it with the best of Korean design. Korea has a design history of thousands of years, and the intricate patterns, brilliant colors, and intelligently designed alphabet still inspire wonderful designs. However, due to a long period of closure to the West, Japanese colonial rule, war, division, political unrest, and military rule – from at least the beginning of the 20th century until the first democratic elections in 1987 – there is much in the way of modern design history the country missed out on and could benefit from. Aaron seeks to blend Korean intricacy and colors with the West’s simplicity and cleanness in design. His biggest goal in Korea is to help Korean designers and corporations think “outside the box” and offer them a different perspective on design. After all, too much similarity lends nothing to distinction.
A little bit of background
Aaron is a website designer and developer who also publishes his own personal magazine for family and friends a few times each year. He works with non-profit organizations and local and overseas businesses to create designs that are aimed at attracting certain target audiences and encouraging interaction. His mission in all design work is to view each opportunity with a fresh set of eyes and improve upon what has been done before. He views design as a great medium for communication in which each element can add something to the delivery – from color, to size, layout, patterns, typefaces, images, and so on. Each has a role to play in design, and Aaron seeks to maximize each one’s potential.
Aaron’s long-term goals include entering a Korean design company to work full-time designing for a variety of Korean businesses, and eventually become a design and branding consultant to Korean companies. But, ultimately, Aaron seeks to further unify Korea and the Western world in design, understanding, and global relationships. He seeks to educate Koreans as to a better kind of webdesign that doesn’t rely heavily on Flash advertisements and animations, and doesn’t depend on Microsoft and Internet Explorer for functionality. He also seeks to educate the Western world about a Korea that many misunderstand, or fear due to its northerly brother, or are just ignorant of because they don’t feel Korea has any relevance.
Vision for the future
Aaron’s vision for Korea and the West, as well as how they can relate to each other through design, is important because the world is daily shrinking as markets and money become more globalized. Korea is very relevant to the West because they provide the world with top-level technologies through makers Samsung and LG, as well as Hyundai, Daewoo, and Kia – and these are only the tip of the iceberg of what Korea is capable of. Likewise, the Western world is of particular importance to Korea. In the globalized economy, an understanding of Western business practices and English are very important to a country that seeks to increase its own international standing through global businesses and trades. And design, for its part can be a wonderful collaborator and communicator on both sides, to further understanding and relationships for these two parts of the world. As Alina Wheeler writes, “While globalization has blurred the distinctions among cultures, the best brands pay attention to cultural differences.” (Wheeler, 2009, p. 28).
Aaron approaches all things in life through a set of values that drive and inspire him. He seeks continual self-improvement, life-long learning, honesty and integrity, and works very hard at perfection. Additionally, he takes every opportunity as a learning experience, and tries to squeeze as much knowledge from each as possible.
What about you?
What’s your brand? What do you have to offer the world? Post a link to your personal homepage, or your “About page” here.
Wheeler, Alina. (2009). Designing Brand Identity, 3rd edition. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.